President Joe Biden’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is offering up to $1.7 million in grants to groups promoting “acceptance” of LGBT youths through counseling and family via the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
The program is meant to promote family acceptance of gay and transgender youth in order to prevent health and behavioral risks that are a particular concern for LGBT youth including suicide, depression, homelessness, drug use and HIV, according to SAMHSA. Grant recipients can receive up to $425,000 for programs that help “reduce rejection” of LGBT youth by their families and caregivers and increase family acceptance by connecting them to counseling services.
“Research has shown that LGBTQI+ youth are at greater risk for poor behavioral health outcomes than their cisgender, heterosexual counterparts… Discrimination, peer victimization, and family rejection also contribute to poor mental health amongst this population,” the grant website reads. “Thus, the LGBTQI+ Family Support program aims to reduce rejection and increase family/caregiver acceptance to improve the behavioral health of LGBTQI+ youth.”
Grant recipients are required to connect LGBT youth and their families with counseling, promote family support through public communications and refer youth in this demographic to family counseling programs, which can “prevent behaviors associated with family rejection of the LGBTQI+ youth that can lead to mental health and substance use conditions,” according to SAMHSA.
The grant webpage focused heavily on the risk factors associated with transgender and gay identification during youth and claimed that “negative parental reactions related to sexual orientation are associated with increases in substance use, including alcohol, marijuana, and cigarettes, as well as higher risk of suicidal ideation.”
In addition to required programs, grant recipients may promote the idea that family rejection of children’s LGBT identities can cause a variety of harms by using social media marketing. They may also consult with education and child welfare services to create programs that discourage family rejection of LGBT identity.
SAMHSA did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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